Page 3524

3524 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

the price of a Lusitania with all her

cargo.

The blockade of the Central Powers

not only weakened them financially but

deprived them of many needed articles.

Necessity being the mother of invention,

the Teutons set their wits to work to evolve

makeshifts and Germany soon became

"a land of substitutes."

Even before the war it was common

for the poor in Germany to substitute

malt coffee for the real article, while the

mixing of roasted acorns with coffee was

so common on the part of some families

in the lower middle class that the children of families were given special permits

by the police "to gather acorns for the

purpose on the sacred grass of the public

parks." As the war progressed the substitution of these and other articles for

coffee was resorted to by other classes.

Imitation tea was made out of dried plum

and other leaves; sometimes, before drying,

the leaves would be boiled in genuine tea.

War bread soon came to be universal.

Various combinations were used in making

it but the chief constituents were likely

to be rye and potato flour mixed with a

little wheat. In Hungary maize was often

substituted for the rye.

Before the war, horse flesh was eaten in

Germany, as in Belgium and France, but

its sale was strictly regulated. Its use now

became much more common, as did the

eating of diseased meat, which in most

countries would be regarded as unfit for

human food. Such meat had been used

to a certain extent in Germany before

the war, being sold under strict regulations.

Tainted meat or the flesh of animals

locally affected by disease was specially

treated by processes which freed it from

danger to health. Such meat was the

reverse of appetizing nor did it have the

nutritive value of ordinary fresh meat,

but the poorer population would come

long distances and line up in long queues

in order to purchase it.

Sausage, one of the main German

stand bys, came to be adulterated very

heavily with bread crumbs and other

substances.

Before the war, the base used for the

manufacture of propulsive powder was

cotton. After considerable delay, the British placed cotton on the proscribed list,

and the supply available in the Teutonic

countries soon became practically

exhausted. The Germans were fairly successful, however, in making use of wood

pulp as a substitute.

The blockade also resulted in a shortage

of gasoline and petroleum. The government sought to restrict the use of such

articles to the lowest possible limit. Candles were used to a certain extent in place

of petroleum, while benzol was substituted

for gasoline in some engines.

One of the most serious shortages was

that of fats and oils. The supply of fats

and oils was greatly reduced by the blockade, while the demand for these articles

was increased by the war. Many kinds

of oils and fats will, if properly treated,

yield glycerine, and nitro-glycerine was

necessary for the German army. Every

effort was made to conserve the supply

of fats and oils. The inhabitants were

urged to save all fruit pits and send them to

special depots for collection in order that

the oil in the pits could be extracted and

saved.

Another essential article in the manufacture of explosives is nitrate. The main

source of nitrates is Chile. The Germans

had stored away 200,000 tons of nitrates,

and, when they captured Antwerp in

October, 1914, they managed to seize a

great deal more. Their supply, however,

was inadequate for the demands of so

long a war and they resorted to the use

of artificial methods of extracting nitrogen

from the air by electrical methods. This

system had been developed to a certain

extent before the war, especially in Sweden

and Norway, and the Germans now bought

much of the output of these factories and

also expended vast sums in Germany in

setting up such plants.

Another article in which there soon

came to be a shortage was rubber. The

Government commandeered the whole rubber supply very early and prohibited its use

except under restrictions.